Monday, 10 August 2020

Water And Pipes

It's a bit warm for me to be taking a long walk today, over 32 degrees C is too hot for this Englishman, though I have been out and about picking wild blackberries and even found a few greengages. But I did have a trip with Les to Grafham Water reservoir last week which yielded a handful of photos.


Although its main purpose is to supply water to the ever-growing population, it's also used for sailing and fishing. Migrating birds often stop off here too.


There are cycling and walking routes encircling the reservoir and, although it can get a little crowded around the visitor centres, you don't have to walk far to find relative solitude.


This rather tatty, though still splendid, butterfly is (I think) a male Silver-Washed Fritillary. They are not at all common in my home area and it's several years since I saw one.


Although over 75% of the shoreline looks natural or semi-natural, that's not the most likely place to see birds. For reasons which only a bird could explain, many of them congregate along the concrete dam and associated man-made features. Along the dam on the morning we were there were Yellow-Legged Gulls, a Caspian Gull, juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, a couple of young Shelducks and a Yellow Wagtail. Usually there's a wader or two as well.


There are quite a few wind-turbines in small groups. They very much divide opinion, but surely they are preferable to sending people down into coal mines or transporting oil half-way around the world. There are also fields of solar panels in the area to produce more electricity. I suspect that it won't be long before birds learn to nest in the spaces between the panels or even underneath them; Collared Doves have already found that they can nest under rooftop solar panels, much to the annoyance of the householders.


A colourful stand of Rosebay Willowherb growing at the edge of woodland near Grafham Water.


And a Red Admiral butterfly feeding on the flowers of Hemp Agrimony.


We keep saying that one day we'll walk the complete circuit (about 10.5 miles) of the reservoir, but it'll have to cool off a bit before that.

*******
So that's the "Water", now how about the "Pipes" in the title?

Back in April I introduced you to the Northumbrian pipes of Kathryn Tickell, which some of you enjoyed, so I thought you might like to learn a little more. Let Kathryn tell you herself:


A lot of pipers take part in competitions which are often one of the attractions at agricultural shows and the like. They develop special show-pieces to display their full range of skills. Here's a piece called "Bill Charlton's Fancy" which was written by the unforgettably-named Billy Pigg, one of the most influential players of the Northumbrian pipes. He was apparently sheltering from the rain in a shed when he heard the raindrops dripping through the roof. As the rain increased the drops fell more rapidly and he imitated this effect in his tune. Listen: 


And Bill Charlton? He was just someone who heard the tune and said he liked it, so Billy Pigg named the tune after him.


Take care.


26 comments:

  1. You are quite right about wind turbines. I doubt that they are anyone's favourite, but if we want clean energy they will inevitably be part of the mix.

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  2. I strongly agree that the wind turbines are so much better than having folks work down in the coal mines. And it's cleaner too. Such a beautiful area for walking. The sky photos are gorgeous. The rain drips in the music was fun. You have a wonderful day, I'm wishing you some cooler temps. Hugs, Edna B.

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  3. We walk between 7 and 8 a.m. before it heats up too much. I wouldn’t venture forth at 32 C.

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  4. I imagine that most people don't have air conditioning in their homes so those temps would not be fun! You have so many beautiful places to walk!

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  5. If it ever got that warm here, I would be staying in. It's nice and cool when I go out around 8 a.m. Lovely photos of the area, John.

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  6. I really enjoyed the explanation of how the Northumbrian pipes are played. Ms Tickell has very dexterous fingers! I think the wind turbines are graceful and quite lovely when you get used to them — especially when you think of what they are replacing.

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  7. While our summer is overfilled with those sort of temperatures I avoid them as much as I can.
    Loved the water views, the plants and the flutterbyes.
    For some reason pipe music makes my eyes leak. Which is true of the smaller versions too.

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  8. It is interesting to see how communities work with water supplies and balance that with the natural habitat and wildlife. Lovely photos.
    Quite an upbeat piece of music. So that's what the pipes sound like!

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  9. Lovely photos. As you say, wind turbines are preferable to other methods of generating electricity but I don't think I would like to live next to them. I have only seen them on television but did not like the noise they make.

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  10. I will try to remember to come back later for the videos. Love the clouds in some of the shots. Wind turbines fascinate me, but would love to know the truth about them. My daughter and I were talking about them yesterday. She said she had read when they start to wear out, that they release a lot of pollution into the ground around them. and I wonder just how much pollution is caused from manufacturing them, the transporting them, and all that goes into erecting(?) one. I also had someone tell me that they ruin farm ground. I don't know if she meant if they tear up and spill oil...but the way she sounded, she did not mean that. And about an hour north of me, there are a lot...as far as the eye can see both east and west of the highway. They are in farmland, and the land is being used and seems to produce okay. Anyway, they are fascinating and I love seeing them.

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  11. Hi John - that must have been a lovely interlude being able to get out to Grafham water ... and a good walk about - look forward to your circuit sometime in cooler conditions. Thanks for identifying things for us ... love the butterflies ... and photos in general. I too will be back for the pipes ...

    Re the wind-turbines ... my query - is the disturbance to landscape/seas that these wind-farms cause in their making ... and how many do we need. Not sure - mining is improving technically dramatically - but we live in these times ... take care - Hilary

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    1. Hi John - loved her description of the Northumbrian pipes ... then her playing of Bill Charlton - she's a talented musician ... thanks for sharing these with us - Hilary

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  12. What a super post and great photos. I don't mind the wind turbines as they seem better than many alternatives. Love the water and the pipes:)

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  13. 32 is often the temperature here in summer- such as today, with humidity- but we're used to it.

    That doesn't mean I like that kind of heat.

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  14. This English women is finding the weather far too hot at the moment and the nights are positively tropical.
    We picked a load of blackberries and made some jam, but it was a mistake not to remove the pips first as they are rather hard. Wish I could have found some greengage plums, my favourites, along with damsons.

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  15. It's very hot today in Nashua, NH, a few degrees higher than yesterday, so much for cooler New England weather. I haven't been out for photo excursions lately because of the heat so enjoyed the cooking water images today, John.

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  16. Well, your Hemp agrimony is our Joe Pye Weed, and the rosebay willowherb is fireweed. How funny to see our old familiars in your posts. Beautiful photos, Cousin.

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    1. Yes, Rosebay Willowherb is the same as Fireweed (though it's a nicer name!) and Hemp Agrimony is (according to my book) a slightly different plant from Joe Pye Weed - though not so different that anyone other than a botanist would notice). Hope you're all well.

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  17. Nice shots of the butterflies! Yes, it's funny how wildlife sometimes congregates around man-made features.

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  18. Hi, John. I wanted to let you know that the City Daily Photo portal will be having its death rattle in the coming weeks. The continuous update feature expired a couple of months ago when the software vendor stopped offering the service and no substitute could be found. And, as you have probably noticed, the blog format has been in a steep decline as photographers have migrated to Facebook, Instagram and too many other services to keep track of. The monthly theme days that used to get more than 100 entries now struggle along with about two dozen.

    Many CDP bloggers will continue with their own blogs as before, and I hope you do, but there will be no portal to search for interesting posts that we don’t follow.

    The place for a CDP “community” is Facebook’s “City Daily Photo” group, where many of the longtime CDP bloggers continue to link their pages. I have noticed that you are not a member. I wanted to call your attention to that group in case you want to sign up.

    This is the message I posted in the CDP Facebook group page earlier today:

    The clock is running out on the CDP portal. Software vendors have terminated their services, blogger headcounts are down. The last theme day will be on September 1, “A Favorite Photo.” This Facebook group will continue. If you have CDP friends who are not on Facebook or members of this group, invite them to join.

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  19. Beautiful photoes specially the last one!Dream shoot!

    Wish you a very nice weekend!

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  20. Rosebay Willowherb... Every year I have to declare war on it in our garden! Give it an inch and it'll take a mile. Nice to read about a stretch of water I didn't know existed.

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  21. It is interesting to see rainwater supplied in such a beautiful reservoir which is also used for sailing and recreation.

    Have a nice weekend.
    Greetings from Indonesia.

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  22. I was fascinated watching Kathryn's Northumbrian pipes lesson - she can really play in that second video!

    Butterfly on blackberries - such a lovely photo John, as are all the others of course.

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  23. A very nice tie in, John, with the photos of the water and the music of the pipes. It's nice that the reservoir serves dual functions of providing rainwater and also recreation. And yes being outdoors for a walk on a hot day would make me feel like jumping into that water. The fritillary certainly did look the worse for wear, but the red admiral was looking better. How nice to pick fresh berries too.

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